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Department Of Justice To Sue California Over 'Sanctuary' Policies

07 March 2018, 11:46 | Myrtle Vega

Trump administration suing to block California laws protecting immigrants living illegally in the US

Foreign nationals are arrested during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement aimed at immigration fugitives re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens in Los Angeles on Feb. 7 2017

Relying on both federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause, DOJ will ask the U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern California to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of these laws meant to protect illegal aliens by preventing cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be in Sacramento on Wednesday to "make a major sanctuary jurisdiction announcement", the Department of Justice said.

A representative for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, D, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The centerpiece of California's resistance to President Donald Trump's promised immigration crackdown, the law limits who state and local law enforcement agencies can hold, question and transfer at the request of federal immigration officials, and it bars officers from inquiring about a person's immigration status.

One of them, known as Assembly Bill 450, prohibits private employers in California from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials. As Gov. Jerry Brown, D, was contemplating signing a law late past year that would limit how state and local police could cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, Sessions said publicly that the measure would endanger law enforcement officers and neighborhoods. "We don't get in the way of the federal government in doing immigration enforcement, unless of course they do so in an unconstitutional manner". In addition to violating the Supremacy Clause, DOJ alleges that SB 54 violates a law enacted by Congress which promotes sharing information related to immigration enforcement.

California's laws are being addressed because they also are new, were widely seen in the media and go farther than other states' laws, officials said.

The announcement comes after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned residents of an imminent raid by federal immigration agents last week that led to criticism by the ICE director saying the mayor tipped off criminals.

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"In California, our state laws work in concert with federal law", Becerra said in a call with reporters Tuesday evening.

Enforcement and the Customs and Border Protection agencies say the sanctuaries policy allows risky criminal immigrants to go free. This review applies only to facilities with civil immigration detainees.

"I feel pretty confident that he would have a hard time proving that there's a rational basis for the federal government commandeering state funds simply to get the state to accommodate the federal government's desires on immigration enforcement", Becerra said.

"At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America", Brown's statement said.

"Despite how (bill author Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León) has presented the issue, the law enforcement profession, which CPOA represents, can not and does not engage in immigration enforcement". "It's a punch back to the lawlessness that's rampant in the state of California".

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to increase its presence in California, and Sessions has threatened to cut off federal funding to jurisdictions that won't cooperate. "I appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice to uphold the rule of law and protect American communities".

But according to the senior justice official who spoke with CBS News, there was no update on whether the Department of Justice will charge Schaaf for obstruction over her warning.



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